Tobacco shops are accused of lacking moral responsibility

Agencies working on tobacco accounts have been accused by MPs of lacking any moral responsibility and literally ’getting away with murder’.

Agencies working on tobacco accounts have been accused by MPs of

lacking any moral responsibility and literally ’getting away with

murder’.



The Labour MP, Eileen Gordon, launched an attack on the four agencies

who gave evidence last month to an inquiry into the risks of smoking by

the Commons Health Select Committee - M&C Saatchi, CDP, Mustoe Merriman

Herring Levy and TBWA GGT Simons Palmer.



Gordon told the health secretary, Alan Milburn, at a meeting of the

committee this week that tobacco companies and agencies ’seem to have no

moral responsibility for what they are doing’.



Admitting her ’frustration’ at the evidence given by the tobacco and

advertising industries, she said: ’They should have some kind of

responsibility.



At the moment, they have no moral or financial responsibility for the

damage they cause to people’s health. As we said, 120,000 people die in

each year. Quite honestly, they are getting away with murder.’



Committee members expressed alarm at the agencies’ willingness to take

on tobacco accounts. They are likely to be criticised when the MPs

produce a report this summer.



Milburn said it was ’depressing’ that tobacco companies had refused to

admit the link between their product and cancer. He said the Government

was determined to ban tobacco advertising but admitted the move had run

into legal difficulties following the High Court challenge by cigarette

companies.



The health secretary said the Government had launched a pounds 50

million education anti-smoking drive through Abbott Mead Vickers BDDO

which, he said, was the biggest budget spent on the issue.



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